Author's Note: Hello Fellow Irkens. Welcome to the third and final installment in my INVADER ZIM EPIC. I must remind you that if you have not read "I'll Always Be Yours" and "Between Now and Then", please do so before reading this. I must also press upon you that Red/Erin fluffy-stuff has seeped into the story line. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS TO HEART PEOPLE! (I love the PaR shipping as much as the next person). Also, be aware that the RATING may change from "T" to "M" because of romance stuff in a MUCH LATER chatper. I do not own Invader Zim. If I did, I would hang out with the Tallest all day. YA!

Disclaimer: As Always, Please Be Respectful and NO FLAMING LASERS! Thank You!

Chapter One

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He was infuriated. More than he had ever felt in his entire life. Yes, he was angry that Erin had been taken captive but he was more so angry with himself and…with Zim. Dib had felt a brief sickness in his stomach, a cold shiver running down his spine. He couldn't have done anything even if he had tried. She was gone in a matter of seconds, along with Tallest Red and the Resisty's officers. There was a brief silence aboard the Massive. And then he felt nothing except every cell in his body crying out.

Dib slouched forward as he sat down on the couch, listening to the Irken officers getting back to their stations. He ran his fingers through his hair, messing it as he mostly did when he was thinking or just completely lost as to what to do. The other Tallest, however, was just standing there, dumbfounded as to what just happened. He was either taking this in very slowly or he was trying not to freak out. Dib was too busy to really care.

"I can't believe I didn't say anything. WHY?! UGH! I shouldn't have let her go back to him. Why did Zim have to do this and at the most crucial time?" Dib thought to himself.

Purple glanced over at Dib, "Are you going to be okay?"

"NO! No, I'm not! Zim just had to break up with Erin when she needed him! And to add to the situation, she and the other Tallest got captured!" Dib replied.

"Oh…right", Purple muttered quietly and then he freaked out, "WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO?! I CAN'T MAKE A DECISION TO SAVE MY LIFE!"

Dib knew this wasn't helping the situation. Neither was both of them freaking out. Purple was only freaking out because he had never been away from his co-tallest, not even for a second. Purple had to admit, Red was the smarter one. He knew what to do, always, not matter the situation. Though, Purple was comforted by the fact that Erin had been taken along with Red, he knew she'd protect him and keep him safe.

"Look, if we're going to get through this, we can't freak out", Dib explained, "We have to look at this situation as logically as possible".

"Yeah, you're right. You know…you're pretty smart. For a short human", Purple said.

"Uh…thanks. I think", Dib replied, "Alright, I have a plan".

"That's good. A plan is good", Purple commented nodding his head, "What's the plan?"

"We have to some how rescue Erin and the other Irken leader", Dib exclaimed.

"That's your plan? That's a stupid plan!" Purple remarked.

"How is that stupid?!" Dib asked.

"We…uh…I don't know…COULD GET KILLED! ", Purple said, throwing his arms up into the air.

"Fine, so what exactly did you have in mind then?" Dib asked folding his arms across his chest.

"Well, we should put 'not getting shot at and get killed' on our list. And I think we should wait to see if any of the invaders can be spared for our rescue mission", Purple exclaimed.

"Okay, that sounds good", Dib replied nodding.

He wasn't sure as to what to think. Though, the taller Irken had a point. They had so little options and getting shot or killed was something they could not let happen. Dib was still uncertain as to how they were going to figure whom they should pick for the rescue mission. The battle field looked deadly. Though the Massive was slowly moving through, they had been shot at in a while, not in the last few minutes anyway. The ship gave a jolt now and again but nothing seemed to be hurting them as much.

- -

Zim weaved the cruiser in and around the others. He didn't feel like getting shot at. GIR was beside him, looking out the window happily at the destruction that was going on around them. Zim frowned, pushing a button on the console, firing at an enemy cruiser, destroying it. He shouldn't have talked to Erin. He shouldn't have. The image of the way she looked at him when he told her what he was thinking, was still burnt into his mind. She had done so much for him...for his people. She had stressed herself out trying to keep peace between him and Dib. Then she took it upon herself, wanting to protect the Tallest. But he had been right. What he had told her had been true. If she loved him and he died, then she would never be happy with any one else. He cared about her, he knew she loved him and cared for him as well.

It just made it all that easier to push her away. The look in her eyes when Tallest Red had been shot was also still fresh in his mind. Zim had never seen her so angry before and...and had there been something else? He had assumed she was just upset, like anyone else would be. But there was definitely something else hidden behind her eyes, something no one else could see. He hated himself for thinking she could possibly like one of the Tallest. She couldn't possibly....or could she? This question seemed to linger in the back of his mind. Though, the way she had kissed him back on Foodcourtia, the way she had said his name as she had wrapped her arms around him, Zim knew Erin could never give her love to anyone else but him, as she had stated over and over again.

She loves you Zim. But what about when she gets to the point where...I don't know...she can't stand it anymore?

Dib's words echoed in his head. It was annoying but it was...truthful. Zim felt his whole body shiver. The kiss back on Foodcourtia had been their last. After that, there was nothing else but the cold hard truth. She had told him she still loved him but her eyes were crying out to him. She had obviously moved on but her words had told him nothing of this. It was her eyes that spoke the truth. He had no idea when her mind had changed or if it was possible for her to change it so quickly. Had being around the Tallest for too long, changed her? Zim almost couldn't believe it when she had told him she had thought about leaving Earth for a little while. He wanted to believe all of this was just a dream and that he'd wake up with her in his arms and that they were still back at his base.

However, this was not so.

He didn't fully understand her devotion to the Tallest. She was not Irken. She did not need to put herself into that posistion. But that had apparently not stopped her from helping them escape to Foodcourtia and keeping them there until more help arrived. It confused him even more, now that he thought about it.

You know Zim, you shouldn't let your girfriend hang around the Tallest. Especially around Tallest Red.

It was Tak's words that came next. He didn't want to believe her because she had tried to get rid of him the last time he had encountered her. Not to mention she hated him anyway. Now though, it personally hurt to really think about it. What if Tak and Dib had been right? Of course they had been, who was he kidding? Zim took a deep sigh. He flew the cruiser behind several bigger Irken ships, keeping himself from being blown up. He was too distracted to really want to fight, which wasn't like him in the least. He shrugged his shoulders. A button on the console started to beep. Zim pushed it, not really ready to hear Dib's voice or what he had to say.

"What is it? I'm busy", Zim snapped.

"We need help. The rebels have taken Erin and one of the Tallest captive. We need a few Irkens who can be spared from fighting", Dib explained.

Zim froze. Erin had been captured? No...no, this could not be! Zim took a deep in-hale, feeling his anntenna wiggle a bit.

"I'll...I'll be right there", Zim responded finally.

He steered the cruiser in the opposite direction, going back to the Massive. His blood boiling with anger. If those FILTHY rebels hurt her, their blood would be spilled ten fold. Zim would make sure of it.

- -

Red wasn't in a good mood. He had no reason to be. He and Erin had been captured by the enemy. He had no idea how long he'd been asleep, only a few minutes....maybe hours. He opened his eyes, the darkness took a minute to get used to. He remembered Erin settling into his lap and then falling asleep. He looked down at her. The top of her head visible. Her soft breathing reached his antenna after a few seconds. Her face buried against his chest. She reminded him of Tallest Miyuki. Tallest Miyuki had been fair, kind, gentle, soft spoken, comforting to others, the list went on. Erin might not have been Irken but in his opinion, she would have been a pretty damn good one. Maybe even Tallest like he and Purple.

A small smile traced over his face, which rarely happened. She was beautiful. Something rarely seen in her species. That's what made her special. Her knowledge of computers, equipment, Irken technology and other such things was something to behold. Her fighting skills were something else too. She probably wasn't even trained in hand to hand combat but perhaps she picked up something from watching Zim. She had been assigned to him after all. He wouldn't be surprised. She was a quick learner. Red then remembered that he had lightly kissed her and then her backing away after a second or so. It had surprised her. Something that confused him. As he looked at her now, he wondered what was going through her mind. She didn't seem uncomfortable now, as she had before.

There was just something in the back of his mind and he knew it was forbidden to think about it. But when did he ever play by the rules? He was one of the Tallest. He thought about what it would be like for her to be...with him. Though, that was obsured and unrealistic. But he had only given it a thought because of how close she felt towards him. How comforting it was to feel her love, to know that she cared about him. Not that she didn't care about Purple, she cared about him as well. But the type of caring he felt was something much deeper. The way Erin had looked up at him, calling him her "Tallest" with the same tone of admiration and respect but with love intertwinde with it as well. He felt a twinge in the arm that had gotten shot. The wound was still sore. Probably healing still. Red looked down at the handy work that Erin had put into wrapping his arm up. He had gotten lucky, that was for sure. It could have been worse.

Looking back at her, he couldn't help but understand one thing.....that he did some-what... love her.

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Author's Note: Hello! Yes, this chapter was considerably short but some chapters will be longer than others. We have picked up where my last story left off. This story might turn out riddiculously long too. Who knows. Anyway, please REVIEW and ENJOY!